Brunch 9 am-2 pm, dinner 5 pm-close daily. $$ Moderate.
[DEATH BY PORK] Adam Sappington, the chef of this Montavilla diner, has a way with a knife and a beast. Try the Whole Hog, a sampler plate that brings tender smoky pork shoulder, rich spiraled belly and a juicy grilled chop together on a single plate. It’s pig heaven. Fried chicken arrives fragrant from its herb-studded crunchy coating that holds in the meat’s juices, but don’t overlook the bacon-braised collard greens that are also on the plate. Tender, smoky and sassy from a vinegar bite, you may need to order more. A starter bowl of spaghetti and meatballs might as well have passed on the pasta—while the housemade egg noodles were tasty enough, the tender, parsley-studded nuggets were the stars. Desserts are hit and miss, so don’t save room. The dining room is modern and efficient, a comfortable retreat from the jumble of activity outside on Southeast Stark Street. Plenty of wooden booths offer a bit of privacy, and a small but fully stocked bar fills one wall. Grab a seat at the counter in front of the open kitchen and watch the cooks—or even talk with them—as they make your dinner. You’re sure to learn a thing or two. DEEDA SCHROEDER.
Ideal meal: Cast-iron-skillet-fried chicken.
Best deal: PB&J, which is a pork sandwich, baked beans and a jigger of Jack Daniel’s, $10; available Tuesdays only.
Chef’s choice: Cast-iron-skillet fried chicken. “I grew up on my grandmother’s fried chicken, and this is an ode to her. I personally make it every Sunday night for our staff meal. My mouth waters the moment it comes out of the beef fat and onto the plate. Nothing tastes better than that.” (Adam Sappington)